Hi all, just joined up. My son has a 2002 WRX (stock) which has been spiking a temp recently. He took it to the dealer who diagnosed a failed water pump and blown "internal" head gaskets. Estimate to fix: $2500.00. Since neither my son nor I have that kind of cash to put into the car I decided to drive it to my house and see what I could do. Before tearing into it I tried to think of ways to verify that the temperature problem really was due to a failed water pump and head gaskets. Being completely ignorant about Subaru and particularly the WRX, I began to read everything I could find on the Web. And then I found this site.
I read through all your old maintenance threads that had to do with temperature/coolant/water pump/radiator issues. Incredible wealth of knowledge there, and I thank you. I won't go into the whole long story of what I finally was able to figure out on my son's car (maybe I'll write that up for the maintenance forum), but suffice to say that the fix cost 0.00, had nothing to do with the water pump or head gaskets, and, having just returned from a 1 hour highway, scenic byway, and city test drive, the temp gauge moved up to just below the 1/2 point and stayed there as if pegged.
So, even though the WRX will go back to my son (after I diagnose and fix a funny judder in the steering wheel), I wanted to join the club to say THANK YOU! And from now on, when he has problems with the car, I'll look here first for suggestions about how to fix those problems.